Franklin College Alumnus Selected as Coveted Governor’s Fellow
Campus News

Franklin College alumnus Clayton Black, who graduated from the college with academic distinction in May with degrees in history and political science, has been selected into the highly sought after Indiana Governor’s Fellowship program.  

Black, the son of Darrin and Molly Black of Troy, Ohio, and formerly of Franklin, began the year-long fellowship in July 2023. He secured the fellowship after completing a lengthy application process that included submitting his resume, several letters of recommendation and completing an intensive essay question.

The Governor’s Fellowship Program provides a unique experience in Indiana State Government. The program is highly selective, recruiting talented young men and women from across the state who have been out of college for less than a year and will serve in various state agencies on a rotating basis over the course of a year. Fellows are full-time and receive a salary. They participate in the daily activities of state government, complete special projects and learn firsthand how policies are made. Black can anticipate working in a variety of settings during his Fellowship.

Many of Black’s predecessors in the program have gone on to successful careers in both the public and private sector – some serving at the highest levels of local, state and federal government.

Black describes the Fellowship so far as a great experience. “The experience has been a culmination of all my previous internship experiences in government. As part of the Fellowship, each of the Fellows are rotated among state agencies of their choice. The first agency I am working with is the Indiana Archives and Records Administration’s State Archives Division, and it has been a very rewarding experience thus far. With the State Archives breaking ground on their new building in downtown Indianapolis soon, we have been in the process of preparing to move the entire archives back to downtown Indy. I’ve been helping to reorganize and transcribe indexes of Indiana Supreme Court cases and researching landmark Indiana Supreme Court cases. I’ve also been able to handle documents more than 200 years old, such as the original 1820 handwritten Indiana Supreme Court opinion State v. Lasselle, which solidified Indiana as a free state, and the original 1816 and 1851 state constitutions. So far, the experience has been more than what I could have hoped for, and I’m very grateful Governor Holcomb selected me as one of his Fellows.”

Black has prepared for the experience in many different ways. A native of Franklin, Indiana, and a graduate of Franklin Community High School, Black gained his first experience in government when he served as a founding member of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council while a sophomore in high school. In this capacity, Black was able to attend Franklin City Council meetings, have frequent meetings with the mayor, and gain a deeper understanding of municipal government.

The experience not only cemented Black’s passion for government and politics but also his passion for his hometown. While his parents moved to Ohio for career purposes following his high school graduation, Black remained in Franklin. While in college, Black completed an internship for U.S. Rep. Greg Pence’s office in Washington D.C. in 2022. He interned for the Indiana House Majority Caucus during the 2023 legislative session. Most recently, at the age of 22, he ran in the Republican primary for a seat on the Franklin City Council. While his election bid came up short against a competitive field of candidates, he gained significant knowledge on how to run a campaign as well as gaining name recognition in his community.

Black rounded out his college career by serving as secretary of Student Congress and serving on Student Foundation. He also served as the president of his fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho, and as president of the Interfraternity Council. In 2021, Black was a member of the FC Moot Court Team, where he earned an award as a Top Ten Orator in regional competition. In 2022, Black traveled to New York City to represent the college on the Model UN Team, helping to secure the Distinguished Delegation award, the second-highest award conferred at the conference. Black was also a member of the college’s FC Across the Aisle organization, which promoted high political discourse within the Franklin College student body and advocated for bipartisanship and political involvement.

“The choice to stay in Franklin after my family moved away was not an easy choice to make,” said Black. “However, I knew that wherever they were moving to was not going to be home to me. Several of my friends were going to Franklin College, so that was something that certainly influenced my decision to stay. The small nature of Franklin College was something that I found attractive. Throughout the four years I was at Franklin College, each student organization I was involved with, every political science and history class I took, and every relationship I developed with faculty, staff, and students helped shape me into the man I am today. The close-knit community that makes up Franklin College helped me accomplish many things to get me to where I am today. I will forever be thankful for everything Franklin College has provided me.”

“Clay is an exemplary Hoosier whose love for Franklin and dedication to finding real solutions to policy problems ensures he will develop into a fine policymaker. I cannot wait to see what he does next,” says Randy Smith, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Franklin College.

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Marketing and Communications at (317) 738-8185.

POSTED Jul 27, 2023